Kids Health Info

Telehealth video consultation

  • telehealth-call
    If you live in rural or regional Victoria or interstate, or if you find travelling to the RCH difficult, telehealth video-consultation may be a good option for your child’s next appointment.  
    Telehealth video-consultations can be run with you in your home, with your local doctor or elsewhere.
    You (or your local doctor) will need a computer with a built-in or plug-in webcam and a reliable internet connection. 
    If you are interested, contact your child’s treating team at the RCH, Specialist Clinics or the telehealth program as listed on the telehealth website.  For more information, see www.rch.org.au/telehealth.  

    How does it work?

    At the time the booked telehealth appointment, go to the RCH telehealth website and click on a link to join the consultation.  You’ll need a webcam.  If the consultation includes your local doctor, you’ll go to their offices and they will do the same thing using the computer in their rooms.  Telehealth is similar to Skype, but easier because you don’t need to install a program or create a special account.

    What are the advantages of telehealth?

    • Your home is the waiting room!
    • Less or no travel time.
    • Saved travel costs.
    • Less disruption to your life.
    • Less time away from school for your child.
    • If your local healthcare professional (e.g. GP, paediatrician, nurse or other) is involved, they can better manage follow-up and ongoing care.

    What are the disadvantages of telehealth?

    • The RCH doctor or nurse cannot physically examine your child, but this may not matter.  Sometimes your local doctor can do this, or it might mean that some consultations are by telehealth and some are face-to-face at the RCH.
    • The video link may fail.  The doctor will usually call you and complete the consultation by phone if this happens.
    • Telehealth may not always be suitable, or may be suitable for some of your child’s appointments but not others.  Your child’s doctor at the RCH will make the final decision about whether telehealth is suitable or not.

    When might telehealth be a good option?

    If you live in rural or regional Victoria or interstate and, for example:
    • The appointment is to discuss results or medications. 
    • The appointment is a discussion about how your child has been feeling generally.
    • It would be useful to include your local doctor who can arrange tests, care or treatment locally and then help manage your child’s ongoing care.
    • It would be helpful to include other doctors, nurses or allied health professionals who are located in a different place.
    • You want to include other family members who cannot travel to the RCH for the appointment.
    • Your child needs a review appointment.  Most doctors prefer to use telehealth after they have met you and your child face-to-face at least once

    What about follow-up?

    Follow-up appointments can be by telehealth again if that suits, face-to-face at the RCH or with your local doctor.
    Some investigations and tests can be arranged locally, nearer to your home. Prescriptions can often be posted to you or faxed directly to your local pharmacy.

    Are there any costs?

    The RCH will not charge you for any telehealth appointment.  If the appointment is with your local paediatrician or GP, ask them if the appointment will incur a cost.
    We may ask for your consent to bill Medicare on your behalf.  We will send you an email containing a link for you to type in your consent after the appointment.

    What do I do now?

    If you would like to know more about telehealth for a future appointment:
    • First, look at the telehealth website: www.rch.org.au/telehealth
    Then contact:
    • Your RCH treating team (tel (03) 9345 5522)  OR
    • Specialist Clinics (tel (03 9345 6180, or the number on your appointment letter)  OR 
    • The telehealth program directly (tel (03) 9345 4645).  

    Key points to remember

    • Telehealth video-consultation is an appointment run by video, usually through a desktop or laptop computer with a webcam.  This can be in your home, with your local doctor or elsewhere.
    • Telehealth can be a convenient option for review appointments to save a visit to the RCH for rural, regional or interstate patients and families.
    • Contact the RCH if you are interested in arranging a telehealth video-consultation for your child.

    More information

    RCH Telehealth website

     

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Disclaimer
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.